Benefits of Seeing a Psychologist Bangkok

A Guide to Choosing a Psychologist in Thailand – Types, Approaches & Services

When searching for a psychologist in Thailand it is essential to have a basic understanding of both the different types of psychologists and how their roles may differ from those in other countries.

Some people searching for psychologists may have their needs better served by a psychiatrist whereas others may be better served by a counsellor, therapist or psychotherapist. This article will provide information on each of these to help you find the most appropriate help and support. 

 

How Counsellors, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists in Thailand Differ in Their Roles

Counsellors:

Training & Education

Counsellors in Thailand typically hold a master’s degree (2 – 3 years) in counselling, psychology or counselling psychology. Practical experience working with clients for counselling for masters degrees usually range between 200 and 300 hours of clinical practice in both individual and group counselling utilising a range of counselling techniques supervised by an appointed clinical supervisor.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Provide individual counselling for adults, children, teens or couples or family therapy.
  • Help clients process, cope, manage and resolve personal and emotional issues utilising therapeutic techniques like CBT, motivational interviewing, and solution-focused therapy.
  • Counsellors do not diagnose severe mental illnesses or prescribe medication but may refer clients to psychiatrists or psychologists if more intensive treatment is needed.

 

Psychologists:


Training & Education

Psychologists typically hold a Masters or doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and are licensed members of one or more psychological associations. but are not medical doctors. Their training focuses on the study of behaviour, emotions, and mental processes and usually have one or more areas of specialisation.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct psychological testing and assessments to clinically diagnose mood disorders or mental health conditions and other psychological issues under the guidance of a licensed psychiatrist for the administration of any prescription medication.
  • Work either as researcher or provide psychotherapy and counselling using various therapeutic techniques.

 

Psychiatrists:

Training and Education:

Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors (MDs) who specialise in mental health. They complete medical school usually 6 years followed by a residency in psychiatry (usually 3 to 4 years)

Training includes extensive clinical experience in diagnosing and treating mood disorders, psychiatric conditions and severe mental illnesses.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Diagnose and treat mental health disorders including severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression
  • Prescribe medication and perform medical procedures like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
  • Work in hospitals, mental health clinics, and private practices.
  • Provide medical reports for insurance companies

 

Key Differences: Summary

Medical Training: Psychiatrists are medical doctors and can prescribe medication, while psychologists and counsellors are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication.

Scope of Practice: Psychiatrists manage both medical and psychological aspects of mental health. Psychologists focus on assessments and or psychotherapy, while counsellors provide supportive counselling and help clients with personal and emotional issues.

Training and Education: Psychiatrists undergo extensive medical and psychiatric training, psychologists complete a masters or doctoral program in psychology, and counselors earn a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

Psychological Diagnosis & Testing

Although some private psychological services providers do offer this we recommend that any diagnosis, psychological testing and psychological treatment you consult with a licensed psychiatrist for reasons mentioned above.

Diagnosing psychological issues involves a thorough assessment process, which may include various tests and evaluations. Common psychological or behavioural concerns include  such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, diagnosis typically involves a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a psychiatrist. This evaluation may include a detailed psychiatric history, clinical interviews, observation of symptoms, and, in some cases, neuroimaging or laboratory tests to rule out other medical conditions.

International hospitals such as Bangkok Hospital and Bumrungrad International Hospital offer services in both Thia and English. 

Bumrungrad is only located in Bangkok whereas Bangkok hospital has over 30 associated hospitals within its hospital network providing services in multiple locations throughout Thailan

 

Bangkok Hospital offers comprehensive psychological and psychiatric services in both Thai and English through its Mental Health Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (BMRC) and Special Clinic (Psychiatry).

Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok offers extensive psychological and psychiatric services through its Behavioral Health Center. The center provides multifaced care for a variety of mental health conditions.

 

Psychological Treatment

Psychological treatment in Thailand typically occurs within either government or private hospitals licensed by the Thai Ministry of Public Health. These medical establishments provide a range of psychological and psychiatric services ensuring that individuals with mental health concerns receive comprehensive care.

Within these organisations multidisciplinary teams, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and other medical doctors collaborate to assess and address the most appropriate medical needs of patients.

Medication may be recommended as part of the treatment plan for certain psychological issues, In Thailand, psychiatrists may prescribe medication based on the individual’s diagnosis and symptom severity.

Counselling & Therapy

While medication can be beneficial for managing symptoms, many medical professionals recommend counselling as an additional resource in addressing underlying issues and promoting mental well-being.

Through counselling, individuals can explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, gain insight into their challenges, and develop coping strategies.

In Thailand, counselling approaches may vary, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), emotional focused therapy (EFT) psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy. These approaches aim to help individuals and couples understand the root causes of their distress, challenge negative thought patterns, develop new coping skills, and enhance mental and emotional well being.

Finding the Right Psychological Support 

Choosing the right psychological support in Thailand involves understanding the different roles and services offered by counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Each professional brings a unique set of skills and expertise essential for addressing various mental health needs. By identifying the most appropriate type of professional, individuals can receive tailored support that addresses their specific concerns, whether it involves coping with personal and emotional issues, undergoing psychological assessments, or receiving medical treatment for severe mental health conditions.

We encourage you to take the first step towards improving your mental health by consulting with a professional who meets your specific needs, Thailand offers a range of services to support your journey and start your path to better mental and emotional well-being.

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